MAY 7, 2018 – Staff Writer MARY ANN GREIER, Salem News
SALEM–More mobility, less pain, little to no narcotics — that’s what Dr. Dominic Peters is now offering his knee replacement patients at Salem Regional Medical Center.
“I don’t like prescribing narcotics and I don’t like patients in pain,” Peters said during a recent interview about the iovera treatment.
Iovera is basically a nerve-freezing procedure done seven to 14 days before surgery that temporarily numbs the nerve at the area where the surgical incision will be made.
Peters, an orthopaedic surgeon with Salem Orthopaedic Surgery, described what happens like a subway train not completing its trip through a tunnel along its route. The wheels come off the train so it can’t go up or down the tunnel. The lack of wheels prevents the train from reaching its destination.
In this case, the iovera handheld device uses three prongs on a smart tip to convert a small amount of nitrous oxide into an ice ball and injects it into the patient’s skin on the front of the knee.
“It doesn’t kill the nerve, it just shocks the nerve,” he said.
The effect is a temporary paralysis of the skin nerve to the knee, blocking the nerve from sending pain signals to the brain. The numbness lasts three or four months and gradually goes away as the nerve regenerates and starts feeling again.
(Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)